Heat Check: This time, Miami turns second-half comeback into win

MIAMI — For the second night in a row, the Miami Heat were without several key players, but this time their second-half comeback culminated in a 114-109 overtime win against the Sacramento Kings on Saturday at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Starters Hassan Whiteside (ankle), Luol Deng (thigh contusion), and Goran Dragic (lower back contusion) were all ruled out before tipoff, though Dwyane Wade was able to start after missing Friday’s road game against the Washington Wizards.

Unsurprisingly, the Kings raced out to an early lead and shot 6 of 7 from beyond the arc in the first quarter. Despite the deficit increasing to double digits in the second quarter, Miami managed to cut the deficit to five points with three minutes left in the half.

Sacramento responded with a 13-4 run to increase its lead up to 14 at halftime. Rudy Gay and Ben McLemore combined for 35 of the Kings’ 61 points through the first two quarters, which also marked the second time in as many nights the Heat allowed more than 60 points by halftime.

After being limited in the first half because of early foul trouble, DeMarcus Cousins began to make his presence felt in the third quarter as he met with little resistance in the paint with Whiteside out. Sacramento stretched its lead to 16 on a Cousins layup with 4:24 left in the third quarter.

With just nine active players, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra elected to go ultra-small, even going so far as playing Michael Beasley at center alongside James Ennis, Henry Walker, Mario Chalmers and Tyler Johnson at one point late in the third quarter.

Much like the game against the Washington Wizards, the small lineup allowed them to get back into the game, as did the liberal use of zone defense. Beasley was a factor not just on offense but also with his valiant efforts fronting Cousins.

Behind the efforts of the reserves along with Wade, the Heat outplayed the Kings down the stretch and had their biggest lead of the night at 96-92 only to allow the game to be tied with 40 seconds left to force overtime.

Heat vs. Kings

Despite Beasley and later Walker fouling out, the Heat secured the win thanks to the late game heroics of Wade and Johnson.

"Guys were literally giving their bodies to the team," Spoelstra said. "We’re a banged up crew right now, but they’re enjoying this win."

THE TURNING POINT

Miami’s 11-2 run that began near the end of the third marked the beginning of the Heat’s comeback.

THE DIFFERENCE MAKER

Wade and Johnson led the Heat with 15 of the team’s 18 points in overtime. Johnson’s 24 points marked his second-highest total of the season.

"We had a lot of carryover from the other day in Washington," Johnson said. "From the second half on in that game, we showed how well we can play as a team. We carried it over to today."

STAT OF THE GAME

After the Kings shot 8 of 12 from beyond the arc in the first half, the Heat held them to 2 of 13 shooting the rest of the way.

WHAT’S NEXT

Miami hosts the Boston Celtics on Monday at 7:30 p.m.

You can follow Surya Fernandez on Twitter @SuryaHeatNBA or email him at SuryaFoxSports@gmail.com.